New: Electro-rheological shocks revealed

Suspension just got clever

Posted: 27 November 2012
by Visordown
Bitubo DigiShox

ITALIAN suspension firm Bitubo has raised the stakes in the race to ever-more-intelligent suspension by creating an adaptable shock using electro-rheological fluid as a damping medium.

What does that mean? Well, instead of altering damping by adjusting valves to restrict the flow of oil inside the shock, they're simply filled with a special fluid that gets thicker or thinner depending on an electrical charge passed through it.

While rival adaptive or electronically-adjustable suspension systems rely on either relatively slow-moving servos, or faster-acting solenoids, to adjust otherwise-conventional valves, the Bitubo ER shock needs relatively few moving parts and should react almost instantly.

Of course, the efficiency of the shocks will largely depend on the data used to set them up and to control their reactions. Bitubo say values like acceleration, braking, suspension movement, lean, speed and even GPS could be used to influence the system's set up.

The firm has even created an iPad app to adjust the system. The only problem now is that for those of us who's suspension-fiddling ability goes no further than a tentative 'couple of clicks' here and there, it probably opens a whole new field of possibilities when it comes to screwing up our own bikes' handling.

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Discuss this story

Are Bitubo actually 'using the electro-rheological fluid as a damping medium'... or are they using the electro-rheological fluid as a means of providing the 'adjustment'?

Not sure of the properties of electro-rheological fluid but may not be quite the same, or as long lasting as fork oil...

Posted: 27/11/2012 at 10:42

Got to say that this sounds pretty promising and it'll be interesting to see how this develops. I seem to recall that Audi have done something similar with basically iron filings suspended in some sort of damping fluid. Applying a magnetic field would effectively increase the fluid's viscosity and therefore increase the damping.

Posted: 27/11/2012 at 14:53

Just give me ordinary clickers. Keep it simple, inexpensive and fool proof. iPad app???? Common.

Posted: 28/11/2012 at 12:22

so what we do now is link it with google maps, a GPS system and a few sensors here and there on the bike. Give it a proximity sensory thing so it can tell where the other road users are.
Right now the bike knows where it is, how it is being ridden and who it is with, so it can adjust engine management and suspension settings 'on the fly'.
If it only enjoyed a pint it could go out on its own on a Sunday!

Posted: 29/11/2012 at 11:04

Wait a bit more ... there will be an app for that as well.

Posted: 29/11/2012 at 12:17

I think it would be great. Map our the track you are riding via GPS data. Adjust suspension settings corner to corner or by sector. Would be awesome to adjust for the skid pad section of Streets of Willow where it is really bumpy or for the bowl a CVR. So much potential now at the consumer level. If I was fast, I would get one.

Posted: 29/11/2012 at 21:08

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